Last Updated on February 1, 2024
Derived from French, déjà vu means “already seen.” It pertains to a strange experience of familiarity in which a present situation feels like it has happened in the past.
Certain smells, sounds, tastes, and encounters may trigger déjà vu. Sometimes, it might seem like you’re being reunited with a person you’ve never met before. It might also make you feel like you’ve been to a place you’re only seeing for the first time.
The experience is hard to explain, but even more challenging to interpret. There is a myriad of theories attempting to explain the meaning of déjà vu. Some are convinced that déjà vu is a manifestation of memories from our past lives; while others believe that it’s an indication of a healthy memory system.
Scientific Explanations of Déjà Vu
Nearly 70% of people experience déjà vu. It’s more common among younger generations. While there has yet to be conclusive proof of the roots of déjà vu, some studies might shed light on the experience.
1. Divided attention.
When you’re trying to do multiple things at once, you might trigger the déjà vu phenomenon. If you’re texting while you’re walking down the street, your attention is focused on your smartphone, limiting your perception of the environment around you.
Your brain might perceive the pedestrians around you from your peripheral vision, but it does so on a lower conscious awareness level. As you shift your focus away from your phone, you might be hit by a sudden sense of familiarity.
2. Hologram theory.
All your memories are stored in the brain as holograms. That means only a small piece is needed for you to recall an entire memory. Your brain might identify the scent of your late grandmother’s cookies from a past memory. You might recall that same scent as you visit another relative’s house.
If your brain processes your memory from your grandmother’s house but fails to identify it, you end up with a strange feeling of familiarity. Even though you’ve never been to this relative’s house before, you can recognize that scent, but you can’t remember where you know it from.
3. Dominant eye.
Not all eyes are made equal. For most people, one eye is more dominant than the other. This elicits feelings of déjà vu. If your dominant eye sends information to your brain before your other eye could recognize what you’ve perceived as a conscious experience, your brain thinks that you’ve seen it before.
And although that’s true, the encounter didn’t occur lifetimes ago. It happened about a nanosecond ago.
4. Confirming errors in our memory.
Déjà vu might be your brain’s way of informing you of errors in your memory.
When we experience it, the frontal regions of the brain, which control decision-making, are activated instead of the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory formation and storage. Your brain scrambles to distinguish what you’ve experienced from what you might think you’ve experienced.
5. Errors in the memory consolidation process.
There are scientists who believe that déjà vu is a result of a few bumps in the memory consolidation process. Instead of moving memories into the region of your brain that’s responsible for long-term storage, it might move it elsewhere, making you feel like you’ve already been through certain experiences.
6. Signs of a healthy memory.
Some scientists believe that your brain’s ability to determine false memories from real ones is a sign that your memory checking system is healthy. It could suggest that you’re less likely to misremember events.
This theory fits facts that we already know about déjà vu—that it’s more common among younger generations.
7. Mini seizures.
Other scientists aren’t quite sure about déjà vu being an indication of a healthy brain. Another theory out there is that mini seizures trigger déjà vu.
As small seizures affect the regions of our brain that are responsible for memory formation and retrieval, we might suddenly feel like something is familiar even though we’ve never encountered it before.
8. The need for sleep.
Déjà vu might have something to do with our lack of sleep. Our brain becomes foggy when we are sleep deprived. In turn, it triggers the frontal regions of the brain and causes memory conflict. The discrepancies in our memory might create the illusion that an event has happened before.
Spiritual Explanations of Déjà Vu
As you experience odd sensations of familiarity, it’s often quite easy to brush them aside. From a spiritual perspective, you ought to pay close attention to these fleeting moments as they may indicate that you’re on the right path.
1. Memories from a past life.
Déjà vu experiences might be encounters from a previous life. Many believe that they aren’t simply mere coincidences—they are memories from a life you’ve lived before.
Certain encounters might seem familiar because you might have experienced them before in a past life. By tapping into these moments and interpreting the messages behind them, you might be able to make wiser decisions that bring you happiness and prosperity.
2. Messages from your higher self.
Instances of déjà vu are sometimes interpreted as “gold nuggets,” hints from your past life, reminding you of your path and mission on Earth.
These experiences occur at various points in your journey, enhancing your understanding and awareness of the world you are living in. As these moments offer a great deal of wisdom, you ought to use them to overcome present challenges.
3. Precognitive dreams.
You might experience pangs of familiarity upon encountering new experiences because you might have dreamt about them before. Precognitive dreams will show you events that are bound to happen in the future. As you watch them unfold in the present, your memory of these events might seem pretty vivid.
4. Timeline shifts.
Perhaps an event feels familiar because you’ve already seen it unfold—in a different timeline, that is. These strong sensations of familiarity are often regarded as signs of timeline shifts.
Déjà vu, in this case, means that you’ve already watched an event transpire from a parallel reality, prior to it unfolding in the present.
5. The soul connecting with your physical self.
Another spiritual interpretation of déjà vu suggests that the phenomenon occurs as your soul connects with your physical self. It might be your soul’s way of telling you how to overcome challenges and heal emotional wounds.
It might also be your soul’s way of telling you that you are on the right path at the ideal time with the right people.
6. Guidance from your angels and ancestors.
Déjà vu experiences might be signs from your angels and ancestors. These messages can guide you to make the right decisions and support you through the most challenging moments in this present lifetime.
7. Tuning into the minds of people from a different dimension.
Our vast universe is as mysterious as the purpose of déjà vu. Some are convinced, however, that the unexplainable moments of familiarity might be our mind tapping into the frequencies of minds from a different dimension.
When our minds connect with other people from a different world, or even in the afterlife, we experience déjà vu.